Raleigh Dec 12, 2017 The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation has approved a master plan for the mainland portion of Hammocks Beach State Park in Onslow County. Friends of Hammocks Beach and Bear Island (FHBI), N.C. African American Heritage Commission, conservation groups, Onslow County staff, local businesses, and neighborhood associations participated in developing the plan. The division began the acquisition of the 290-acre Hammocks Beach mainland project in 2015. The property was acquired to enhance protection of water quality, sub-aquatic vegetation and scenic assets on the creek and to provide additional mainland recreational opportunities. The 1,611-acre park also includes Bear Island, Huggins Island and Jones Island. Concepts for the property were developed by staff and stakeholders and incorporated into the long-term plan, which will guide future development of the park as funding becomes available. Priorities for development include a pavilion and day use areas, a trail system, camping facilities and a fishing pier. Based upon the North Carolina State Parks System’s core missions of providing conservation, recreation, and education, the plan details the future conservation and use of Hammocks Beach State Park lands. It also includes mechanisms to address the protection of soils, natural communities, and floodplains within the park. “This plan incorporates the complex needs of multiple stakeholders in a way that will serve the community and visitors well,” said N.C. State Parks Director Mike Murphy. “It offers a great balance for the future of the park: ample opportunities for recreation, new spaces to bring people together, and protection of important natural communities.” Hammocks Beach State Park had over 195,000 visitors in 2016 and visitation is ahead of that pace in 2017. Details on the Hammocks Beach State Park expansion master plan project are available on the project website: here. About North Carolina State Parks North Carolina State Parks manages more than 232,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 18 million visitors annually.